Back when it was first announced we’d be getting 2 versions of Super Smash Bros., one on 3DS and one on Wii U most fans were pretty excited to say the least. It has now been a year and 3 months since the first reveal trailer was shown off and the 3DS version is now out worldwide with the Wii U version releasing November 21st in North America and early December for the rest of the world. Now that the 3DS version has released Sakurai has let a few details out about development including he dropped transforming characters due to 3DS limitations as well as the popular duo of the Ice Climbers with the same reason. We also have many things missing that were in both Brawl and Melee (such as tournament mode, coin battles, item frequency, the aforementioned, transformations and Ice Climbers, as well as a few other things) and most if not all have been speculated to either be dropped due to hardware limitations or time issues of developing two games at once. That is where this question it self comes from. Should Nintendo have treated Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS differently?
First off let me say I am loving Smash Bros. for 3DS for more than I expected to. The game is a lot of fun but certainly has it’s flaws. For one the varying representation of franchises. Mario gets 8 playable fighters (only counting characters with the Mushroom Kingdom icon), 5 stages (with Mushroomy Kingdom feeling really pointless), tons of items, Smash Run enemies and trophies and a few other things. Yes Mario is the best selling gaming franchise of all time but compare it to Pokemon, the second highest with 5 playable fighters, 2 stages, 2 items, 4 Smash Run enemies and a ton of trophies. Yeah Pokemon does have a lot less sales than the Mario franchise (It has almost passed the Super Mario franchise though) but how about series such as Pikmin, Star Fox, Metroid, Wario and Donkey Kong that got no new characters or stages? All those series I listed are stuck with a retro stage. I think a lot of these series are stuck like this due to time not harware issues but why devote time to another scrolling Mario stage, bring back Mushroomy Kingdom and not give DK a new stage? Luckily aside from DK all these series have officially had a new stage confirmed for the Wii U version but that still doesn’t explain the massive Mario love. Another series people jump on for over-representation is Kid Icarus. This one did get the explanation of being because they had the assets from Uprising and it was easy to port but that just brings up hardware limitations. If Smash Run was a Wii U exclusive mode would it have had so many Kid Icarus enemies?
Another issue we are having is fans really like the surprise of finding out the roster themselves. People were leaving the internet to avoid spoilers (I personally wanted to know as much as I could before I got the game, same as I was with Pokemon) but now what? Yeah we have those rumors of 4 hidden characters that are unlocked by connecting the Wii U and 3DS but there is nothing really giving us any reason to actually believe this besides desperation of Ridley and Mewtwo making it (when both have such huge hype it seems stupid to not have them in both) but what I’m getting at is why did they need to have the same roster? Yeah I know time was brought up earlier but we already know Ice Climbers were running fine on Wii U but they couldn’t get them on 3DS. Why not bring Ice Climbers over? Characters like Lucas and Wolf could have been just brought directly over from Brawl which sure, they wouldn’t have had the same care as the rest but we’re still now at 3 characters without having to actually create someone new. Something else could have been give Alph the Dr.Mario/Dark Put/Lucina treatment. It feels weird having Alph left as an alternate costume but those 3 were made clones. We could have also lost someone like Wii Fit Trainer, Shulk or Alph, that only appear on console games, from the 3DS version and made them Wii U exclusive. This would probably mean someone like Greninja, Robin or Dark Pit being 3DS exclusive as they only appeared on handheld games.
Nintendo put Smash in a weird position. Sakurai has stated that Smash 3DS is not “Smash Lite” and that it’s a full Smash experience but if the features I listed are in fact in Smash U then that would directly conflict with what Sakurai is saying. If they’re not then it’s very clear that either the 3DS held back the Wii U version or developing 2 Smash games at once (especially as each gets bigger and bigger) is just too much and honestly, I think we’d all go back in time and give up Smash 3DS, if we could, if it turns out it really did hinder the Wii U version from being the best it really could.